- 一般社団法人 日本体育学会
- 体育学研究 (ISSN:04846710)
- vol.51, no.1, pp.33-48, 2006 (Released:2008-01-25)
This paper attempts to clarify the process of change from Gekiken and Kenjutsu to Kendo at the beginning of the 20th Century. The former two terms were widely used to mean swordsmanship with a bamboo sword. However, only the latter term is currently employed, despite the fact that it had been scarcely used at the time of the former two. At the end of the 19th Century, Gekiken was disliked by intellectuals because it marked a change from a real martial art to competition with a bamboo sword, and Kendo began to find favor instead of Gekiken even though the principle of Kendo had not been properly defined. In 1908, Shizuo Sakaguchi, a student, suggested that the concept of Kendo should consist of not only Kenjutsu training but also the mental discipline that is required for swordsmanship. However, his ideas did not gain immediate acceptance. In 1909, the Tokyo Higher Normal School changed the term Gekiken to Kendo, thus following the mainstream trend of adopting Kendo without any set idea of its content. Although in 1911 the Ministry of Education permitted Gekiken to be taught in secondary schools, the School intended to retain the term Kendo as a descriptor, and therefore it became necessary to properly define its content. Accordingly, Michiaki Nagai, the only professor of gymnastics at the School, emphasized the mental aspects of Kendo, as the suffix “-do” means “the way” for perfection of swordsmanship, as opposed to Gekiken and Kenjutsu, as the terms mean literally “hitting with” and “handling” a sword. The first special school for swordsmanship instructors was set up by the Ministry in 1911, and thereafter use of the term Kendo spread to all schools. The final aspect of this change of thought was the adoption of the term Budo instead of Bujutsu, meaning “martial art”, by the Great Japan Martial Virtue Association in 1919.